Industry says Government Energy Security Review Report is Fundamentally Flawed

1st November 2022

  • The contents of this review require urgent public hearings to examine all energy security options, including the use of existing infrastructure to unlock the potential of domestic offshore gas supply.

  • A full cost benefit analysis needed to assess exposure to the Irish taxpayer of mitigation measures suggested in report.
  • A detailed assessment of the potential for interruption of energy supplies through a range of risks including cyber-attacks, infrastructure failure through accident, war, or sabotage is clearly warranted.
  • Energy demand assumptions used to underpin the review are out of date and overly optimistic
  • An industry that has safely and securely provided Ireland with much needed gas supply for 40+ years was dismissed without any coherent or detailed reasons.

The Government’s consultation process on the Review of the Security of Energy Supply of Ireland’s Electricity and Natural Gas Systems concluded on Friday (October 28th, 2022), at a time when Ireland’s population and energy demands are growing but our energy supply is increasingly unreliable and dependent on rising imports. The Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA) has submitted its industry consultation paper to Government at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications. It is highly critical of a number of aspects of the review, states that the process and report are fundamentally flawed, and calls on the Government to commence public hearings and a wider consultation process on energy security.

Ireland’s energy security situation is becoming progressively more isolated and precarious every day because we have significantly lower levels of diversity of energy sources and options compared to all neighbouring countries referenced in the review documentation.

  • Ireland has a prohibition on the granting of new authorisations for gas exploration or extraction beyond those already in place,
  • Ireland has no gas storage,
  • Ireland has no LNG import facilities,

In view of the extremely critical nature of Ireland’s energy security, IOOA’s submission recommends that the results of the Review of the Security of Energy Supply of Ireland’s Electricity and Natural Gas Systems, together with the submissions from the public consultation, need to be analysed by a public session of the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Climate Action.  The hearings should include full interdepartmental Government and Agency representation, as well as all relevant industry bodies who have made submissions.

Corrib Potential

In light of the considerable potential for further gas discoveries in the Irish offshore, the fact that all exploration and development is carried out at no cost to the Irish state, and that indigenous gas has very low emission intensity compared to imported gas supplies, the delivery of additional domestic gas supplies is an obvious and very significant mitigation option. In that regard, there is a need to examine the creation of “a gas exploration zone” around the existing infrastructure at Corrib where new licences can be issued. Any new gas finds could be tied back sub-sea to the existing infrastructure without the need for new onshore developments.  Additional domestic gas is not fracked, is lower carbon, reliable, secure and benefits the local and national economy unlike foreign imports.  The submission states that the indigenous exploration industry has been safely providing low carbon, reliable gas for over forty years in Ireland and can safely produce much needed additional transition gas up until 2050.  Specifically, it states, there are prospects in or around Corrib which have a 1 in 4 chance of success, rather than the 1 in 50 or 100 figures consistently referenced by Minister Ryan.

In addition, the industry suggests that Corrib should also be examined as a location for national gas storage and as a landing point for LNG – using the synergies of the existing Bellanaboy plant, the expertise of its personnel and its direct link line connection to the gas grid.

Barryroe Potential

The Barryroe Field, which is a confirmed oil and gas field, presents a unique opportunity to develop an indigenous source of oil and gas. With contingent and prospective in- place gas resources in excess of 1tcf, the field has the potential to contribute significantly to Ireland’s gas balance over the next 10 to 15 years. Successful development of Barryroe will not only contribute to Ireland’s energy security and transition to a carbon neutral economy, but will also create significant employment opportunities and provide strategic and fiscal value to the Irish economy, at no cost to the Irish taxpayer.

Commenting on the submission to Government, Ryan Carty, Chairperson of IOOA, said “This report was originally designed to highlight the energy security issues that we face here in Ireland with our gas and electricity systems, but it is too late as the broader energy crisis is already here.  A wider discourse, with the involvement of industry expertise and experience is required to manage our short-, medium- and longer-term energy supply. The Irish public deserve to know the full extent of our exposure and all of the options for Ireland’s future energy mix. We are calling on Government to commit to Oireachtas Committee hearings on Energy Security immediately.  We also request that responsibility for the recommendations from the report and from industry extend beyond the Department for Environment, Climate and Communications.  We also call on Government, as a matter of urgency, to provide a more detailed assessment of the potential for interruption of energy supplies through a range of risks including cyber-attacks, infrastructure failure through accident, war or sabotage, or failure by international suppliers to meet contracts amid the growing demand and the scramble to replace Russian gas supplies. And to include the considerable potential for further gas exploration discoveries in the Irish offshore region”.  

Ends

 

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